Sunday, February 17, 2008

Toys

Janet remembers a toy that Newt created for neighborhood children. It was an adaptation of one used by children as he was growing up. He rolled a strip of steel flat bar into a hoop then butt welded the ends. This formed a band very much like the ones used as tires on wagon wheels of earlier times. Next he bent another strip into a 'U' shape with about a two-inch throat and 3/4-inch lips. This he welded to a handle made of 1/4-inch steel round bar doubled back into a deep 'U' shape to form a handle. The handle was used to roll and guide the hoop around the yard, sidewalk or where ever. Because it was steel sliding on steel it made a terrible racket but it was challenging and fun and provided plenty of exercise. I believe he made two sets so you could challenge your friends to a race. Newt made other things too. One summer while playing softball, Newt broke his leg. Janet jumped off a slide and broke her leg too, so there were two invalids that summer. Newt had commercial crutches but they didn't have a size that would fit Janet so Newt cut a pair from wood and fitted them to her height. It was hillarious to watch father and daughter hobble around.
Newt bought an old Jeep pickup then decided he needed a camper to put on it for deer hunting. Newt decided the factory built campers weren't worth what they cost so he spent nearly every night one summer building one of his own. It could have been that the bed on the Jeep was smaller than most pickup beds and he couldn't buy a camper to fit. Come deer season he had a new camper to keep him warm and dry. He took the camper to Yellowstone one summer. A big brown bear strolled up to the driver side to beg for food. Genevieve wanted a picture of the bear so she got out of the passenger side and creeped around the back to take the picture. As she got to the back, Newt pulled forward leaving Gen nearly face to face with the bear. He got a good laugh from that prank but he paid dearly for the joke. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Newt's sisters claim that he was full of pranks as a boy. While one sister was drawing water from the well, Newt would wait until she had it cranked nearly to the top then tease her until she released the handle to swat him which let the bucket fall back to the bottom.

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